$100m Centro project back on track
IT TOOK just over one hour of talks in Hervey Bay yesterday to get the $100 million Centro shopping centre expansion project back on track.
Yesterday’s outcome was a major turnaround from earlier in the week when the project’s developers, Leda, had threatened to walk away from the venture.
After the Chronicle revealed the stand-off Fraser Coast Regional Council CEO Andrew Brien and Mayor Mick Kruger arranged a special meeting with the Leda group to sort out the problems so the project could move ahead.
Leda’s Centro project consultant Allan Keast attended the meeting while chairman of Leda, Bob Ell, participated via phone hook-up.
Mr Keast said the project had stalled because the council had moved the goal posts on the infrastructure charges relating to the project.
“We had a meeting on this back in December and everything was agreed on,” he said. “We walked away after shaking hands believing that the project had the green light to start by mid-2010.
“Somehow in just one month the agreement was changed and a $1 million infrastructure charge blew out to $3.8 million, making the project unworkable. This has now been fixed and we are waiting on a document from the council’s CEO to confirm what our new arrangement is,” Mr Keast said.
Mr Kruger said everything now appeared to be acceptable and once Leda had agreed to the new changes he would be taking it to council for endorsement.
“I don’t see any problem with getting that support from the councillors so I am pleased to say the Centro project at this point is right to go,” he said.
Mr Keast said once the project had council approvals work could be expected to start on stage two of Centro by mid-2010.
“Current stage one tenants Target and IGA are both moving ahead with refurbishments so we will wait until those are finished before we move in,” he said.
“It’s difficult to give a completion date but I can assure shoppers the new modern Centro will be ready for their Christmas shopping in 2011.”
It’s already been announced that key tenants in stage two will include Coles, Best and Less and Kmart. One of the features will be a major food court.